ABU DHABI, UAE - Carrefourï¿½ï¿½s shift to smaller formats has prompted a move by the worldï¿½ï¿½s second-largest retailer, behind Walmart, to undergo a national rebranding effort in the UAE involving 16 of its Carrefour Express stores, which are being renamed Carrefour Market, reports The National.
The goal, notes the company, is to change how customers perceive its smaller convenience stores "so that they are associated with fresh ingredients and choice, rather than just a range of basic grocery items," the news source writes.
"Particularly in the Emirates, Carrefour is focusing on smaller stores to continue growth," Vincent Verdier, an analyst and director at Kantar Retail, commented, adding, "The opening of big 10,000 square foot markets will get reduced in the future. That's quite particular to the Emirates."
Carrefour aims to entice customers with the new Carrefour Market brand in the UAEï¿½ï¿½s increasingly competitive industry, noting that retailer Lulu was "becoming a bit more aggressive with their promotional activity and pricing" and that Choithrams announced last June it would open smaller convenience stores in emerging residential developments.
"Our customer demographic is constantly changing and evolving along with their requirements from a local supermarket," Franck Rouquet, Carrefour's supermarket regional manager for the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, told the news source.
Carrefour's business overall has done well in the Emirates, holding 8.7 percent of the UAE's market share in grocery sales, up from 6.4 percent in 2006, according to Euromonitor. However, Carrefour's sales have been struggling in other markets around the world, notes the news source, and that just this month the company warned its earnings for the first half of 2011 would fall by about 35 percent, with shares falling to a two-year low.
The news source adds that at its annual meeting in Paris, Carrefour's shareholders approved a plan to spin off its discount unit Dia, which has been valued at up to ï¿½ï¿½4 billion by analysts. In Europe, the company has also earmarked ï¿½ï¿½1.5bn to renovate its stores and roll out Carrefour-branded grocery items.